Writer: Misaal Irfan
A few weeks ago, I was able to virtually “sit down” with Ethan Fields and simply talk about who he is, but also who he wants to be. Our conversation was illuminating in the sense that I was able to understand how an artist who simply just loves music, instruments, and the sound works each day to have his creations be heard by the world.
Born in Las Vegas, living in Florida, and now attending Harvard University studying Government, Ethan Fields is an interesting and talented character who has established himself as an artist known for his genre-blending techniques and unique take on mainstream music. Like most artists, he found an interest in music at a young age: his immigrant mother passed down to him a piano that he would play around with, while his father was a passionate record junkie. Along with this exposure, like most kids, he used his toys to host imaginary concerts in his living room.
The contrast between his academic aspirations at Harvard and his passion for music might seem like a mismatch, but it has only strengthened his passions and knowledge. While attending Harvard university, Fields is also in an interesting program at Berklee College of Music that has allowed him to pursue music while being a full time college student.
“The more and more I think about it--especially being in quarantine and making music-- it is definitely a real thought to fully switch to music”.
He released music for the first time at just 16 years old--an EP called Nandina--that explored the typical struggles of a teenager and embodied the spirit and emotions of a coming of age film. By touching on the difficulty of not knowing what is next in life, feelings of remembrance and regret, and remembering people, memories, and moments, he creates an experience that implores someone to remember those moments that may have been forgotten and to cherish the innocence and naiveté of your teen years. His style of music resembles that of greats such as Tame Impala, Kevin Abstract, The Growlers, Jacob Collier, The Strokes, and many more.
“What I wanted to do after putting out that first EP was just be one with the sound, so to speak”- Ethan Fields
The pandemic-ridden quarantine era that is Summer 2020 has been a reawakening for both Ethan and his music. With the advantage of having a full day at home, he has given music much more time, and has further developed his creative process. For example? He’s dove into a new form of spreading his music: one of those being the infamous viral app:TikTok. His thinking is: “Okay, what are you going to do confined inside these walls? You are luckily in a position to create, but you know there are also drawbacks like lack of stimuli and you're watching everything through the filter of news media and the internet you kind of get this like separation between yourself and the rest of the world from not being outside, so in that sense lyric writing has been a great struggle”. TikTok has been an outlet to play with sounds and also share his own style of music. Ethan creates eccentric videos where he takes mainstream songs and then transforms them into an entirely new genre and sound like “God’s Plan But It’s Still Woozy” and “Supalonely But It’s The Strokes”. His videos have received recognition from notable TikTok stars like Emma Chamberlain and Addison Rae. These videos leave you in awe of his creative process and are dangerously catchy. You are left wondering how mainstream songs would sound like if your favorite indie artists performed them.
Ethan’s talent is by no means limited to his solo career. Along with his personal music, he is also in an indie pop band called Chelsea Garden with friends from high school--their music style is similar to that of Wallows, The 1975, and Green Day. So far in 2020, they have released an EP and two singles that touch on lust, nostalgia, and growth. The band has also been featured on Ethan’s TikTok where they have done show stopping covers of Boy Bye by Brockhampton and All Falls Down by Kanye West. This band is an extension of Ethan’s passion and creativity for making music. I asked him a question at the end of the interview, asking him where he sees himself and his music going in the next few years, and his answer was driven and eye opening. He hopes to make more music, increase his audience, and gain the attention of an established record company that would allow him to freely create and uplift his already established musical career. He wants to make music forever because it’s what he has fallen in love with.
As the days of quarantine come to an end, Ethan is entering a new era with a new audience, new platform, and new sense of what direction he wants to go with his music. His understanding of who he is and what he wants to be is not only inspiring but humanizing. For all of us, being confined within our homes and experiencing a global pandemic has allowed us to grow, and as cliche as it sounds, to dwell upon and maybe even discover our passions, ideals, and goals. My conversation with him gave me an insight into his witty, talented mind, leaving me thinking how I should think about my future and interests in an unapologetic and risky manner rather than looking at the unknown as a strict unidirectional path.
You should check out Ethan Fields:
Instagram: @theethanfields Tik Tok: @theethanfields